the blessing of sleep

for he grants sleep to those he loves.

For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Psalm 127: NIV; NASB

Neurologists have uncovered how important sleep is to the brain. The brain, though active at night while we sleep since we actually are always dreaming (though I rarely remember my dreams) is actually in repair while we’re sleeping. And even though I often don’t get as much sleep as I ought to (so this psalm would be a good one for me to meditate on for a while), I wake up not only refreshed, but oftentimes with a burden at least partially lifted.

Part of sleeping for a person of faith is simply an act of faith in trusting the God who while watching over us, neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121). Although sleeping is most definitely one of my favorite parts of the day (of course, at night, usually), I often find myself resisting it. Sometimes up surfing the internet, or making another move in Lexulous (an online Scrabble game). Or listening to something. Better for me as a rule to shut the internet down, perhaps read some scripture, and then doze off. In fact, I think it’s always good to read scripture in the evening, which is actually the start of a Jewish day, and then go to sleep. That might be better than reading scripture once we wake up from a night’s rest, instead of doing so the night before. Though both are surely good.

The bottom line is that we humans need sufficient rest (and for me, sufficient coffee especially in the morning), part of God’s provision for us surely in more ways than one. Afternoon naps (a wish for me) when possible, included. God will provide what we need; we can’t do it ourselves. But part of what we can do among other things is discipline ourselves with enough sleep, surely a means of grace itself. A part of the rhythm of creation and provision for us from the Creator. And a blessing to us in and through Jesus.